Publicity picture by Cold War Steve released for new comedy Mates in Chelsea at the Royal Court Theatre

Published on Thu 26 Oct 2023

The Royal Court Theatre has revealed new publicity and rehearsal images for its upcoming comedy Mates in Chelsea by Rory Mullarkey. The main poster image, released today, is a new collage created by the celebrated artist and satirist Cold War Steve which sits in playful dialogue with the comedy’s exploration of British popular culture’s long held hyper-fixation with aesthetics of aristocracy.  Also released today are rehearsal images and publicity pictures of the cast which includes Amy Booth-Steel, Natalie Dew, Karina Fernandez, George Fouracres, Laurie Kynaston, Philipp Mogilnitskiy and Fenella Woolgar. 

Birmingham artist Cold War Steve specialises in surreal, satirical and hilarious collages. As well as a dedicated and ever-growing social media following, he has had three solo exhibitions, two books, commissions for the National Galleries of Scotland, Whitworth in Manchester, Birmingham Museum and Gallery, an installation at Glastonbury Festival, a TIME magazine cover and recently collaborated with the band Sleaford Mods on their new video. He has been shortlisted for the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award and nominated for the The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. Cold War Steve has also made a feature length documentary – Cold War Steve Meets The Outside World about his work made with Bafta winning film director Kieran Evans, the featured exhibition of the same name was nominated for a South Bank Award in 2021.

Directed by Royal Court Associate Director Sam Pritchard, Rory Mullarkey’s riotous new play Mates in Chelsea takes inspiration from Wilde and Wodehouse to create a contemporary comedy of manners set among the dwellers of south west London who – somehow – remain our country’s ruling class.

Playwright Rory Mullarkey said: “Cold War Steve’s grimly hilarious panoramas of life in this cruel little kingdom of ours have made me laugh a lot in the last few years, and I had them in my head when I was writing Mates in Chelsea, so I’m chuffed to absolute bits that he’s done the poster for the show. I think it captures the satirical rage, comic chaos and sense of great fun at the heart of the play.

Mates in Chelsea runs at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from Friday 3 November to Saturday 16 December 2023. Press night is on Thursday 9 November 2023 at 7pm.

Mates in Chelsea is designed by Milla Clarke. Lighting design is by Natasha Chivers, sound design is by Christopher Shutt, movement direction is by Malik Nashad Sharpe, assistant director is Aneesha Srinivasan, dialect coach is Penny Dyer, and fight direction is by Bret Yount. The production manager is Vivienne Clavering, the stage manager is Chris Peterson, the deputy stage manager is Julia Slienger, and the assistant stage manager is Tash Savidge.

“But I do have a job. I’m a professional viscount”

Things aren’t looking good for Theodore “Tug” Bungay.

His mother, Lady Agrippina, has a plan to cut off his funds. His fed-up fiancée wants to drag him up the aisle. An oligarch is eyeing up his beloved Northumberland castle. Is Tug’s dissolute life about to change completely? Or will he get to carry on doing exactly as he pleases without ever facing any consequences?

There will be a post-show talk with Rory Mullarkey on Tuesday 14 November 2023.

See here for the full press release.


Image credit: Cold War Steve